What Are Eating Disorders?
Nearly 30 million Americans will have an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime. Eating disorders often co-occur with other mental health conditions, such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and alcohol and drug use disorders.
The recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists six main eating disorders, which are briefly described below.
Pica, which is more common in childhood than in adulthood, is defined as the persistent consumption of nonfood substances—ice, paper, hair, soil, starch, etc. When it occurs in adults, pica is often associated with the presence of serious mental illness or intellectual disability.
Risk factors for Pica include neglect and developmental delay.
2. Rumination Eating Disorder
Rumination disorder involves regurgitating food—bringing up swallowed food, chewing it, spitting it out, or swallowing it again (without disgust or nausea).
Rumination disorder is sometimes accompanied by malnutrition and may result in weight loss. Like pica, this condition is more prevalent in individuals with intellectual disability.
In children, risk factors for rumination disorder are stress, lack of stimulation, and relationship problems.
3. Avoidant/restrictive Food Intake Disorder
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder is characterized by avoidance of food—due to a lack of interest in food, food sensory sensitivity, or consequences of eating (e.g., choking)—and can result in weight loss and nutritional deficiency.
Risk factors consist of mental health conditions (e.g., autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder), family anxiety, parental eating disorders, and history of digestive conditions and other medical problems.
4. Binge-eating Disorder
Binge-eating disorder is characterized by regular episodes of eating a lot of food in a short time. These episodes are associated with feelings of loss of control at the time (e.g., eating rapidly, eating when no longer hungry), and feelings of depression, guilt, and self-disgust afterward.
Risk factors for binge eating include personal/family history and genetic predisposition.
5. Bulimia Nervosa Eating Disorder
Individuals with bulimia nervosa also binge eat; however, due to their preoccupation with body shape and weight, they additionally engage in unhealthy compensatory behaviors and try to follow strict diets between binges. For example, many people with bulimia nervosa engage in fasting, extreme exercise, and purging (e.g., self-induced vomiting).
Risk factors for bulimia nervosa include female sex (bulimia nervosa is much more common in women than in men), genetics (e.g., childhood obesity, early puberty), and environmental and mental health factors (e.g., low self-esteem, depression, social anxiety, weight concerns, childhood abuse).
6. Anorexia Nervosa
A clear sign of anorexia nervosa is very low body weight, which is one of three criteria used to diagnose this condition:
- Restriction of food intake resulting in abnormally low body weight.
- Severe fears of gaining weight and attempts to prevent weight gain.
- Body image disturbances, self-evaluations highly impacted by weight, or failure to realize the dangers of being severely underweight.
Individuals with the restrictive subtype of anorexia nervosa achieve their low weight mainly through exercise and dieting/fasting, while those with the binge-eating/purging subtype engage in purging as well.
Risk factors for anorexia nervosa comprise genetics, female sex (anorexia nervosa is much more common in women than in men), anxiety, obsessional traits, and either living in a culture (e.g., Western culture) or having a job or hobby (e.g., working as a model) that highly values thinness.
Eating disorders can have serious mental health and physical health consequences. For instance, anorexia nervosa is associated with a high risk of death. So, if you have been struggling with eating issues, do not delay seeking help. Effective interventions are available and can give you the techniques you need to manage your eating habits.
What is Treatment-Resistant Depression?
Treatment-resistant depression is depression that has failed to respond to at least 3 antidepressant medications from different drug classes.
What is Spravato?
Spravato Nasal Spray is a new FDA approved medication for treatment of chronic depression in adults. Please fill out the form to download our patient guide to get more information on this medication, who is the right candidate, treatment options, and potential side effects.
Talk to your doctor to see if Spravato is right for you.
Please note that Spravato can only be administered in a medically supervised healthcare setting that has been recognized as a certified treatment center.
Download your copy of:
Spravato Patient Guide
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